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Houzz.com: 'Hobbit House' in Pennsylvania Countryside

'Hobbit House' in Pennsylvania Countryside

It's not unusual for homeowners to have a room, or even a small outbuilding, dedicated to a hobby or interest. But Pennsylvania architect Peter Archer and his clients, a Chester County couple with grown children, took that idea way beyond the norm. The husband is a serious collector of J.R.R. Tolkien books, manuscripts and artifacts, and wanted to create a small cottage to house and protect his collection — a cottage that would bring to life the hobbit dwellings in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings "trilogy. "He had been collecting since the early 1970s and had simply run out of space in the house. A good bit of his collection was in boxes stored around the house," Archer says.

Although Archer wasn't especially well versed in Tolkien's background and work, he quickly brought himself up to speed. "Upon starting the project I read the book The Hobbit and watched the Lord of the Rings movies, but more importantly, looked at the range of writings by Tolkien, including amazing sketches he had done to illustrate his work," he says. "I remember at the start saying that we would be happy to design the structure but were not going to do a Hollywood interpretation."

Pennsylvania architect Mark Avellino collaborated with Archer to bring the plan to life. He "worked closely with me to interpret Tolkien and create the beautiful details that make this such a special building," Archer says. "Also, there were a host of builders and landscape people who put their hearts and souls into the making of what has been coined a 'Hobbit House.'"

Houzz at a Glance Who lives here: A couple lives in the main house, a short walk from the cottage.
Location: Chester County, Pennsylvania
Size: 600 square feet That's interesting: The design of a distinctive "butterfly" window stemmed from Tolkien's own sketches. The semicircular halves of the window open from a center hinge.

An 18th-century stacked stone wall on the property made this site, a short walk from the main house, a natural choice for the Hobbit House. From the beginning, Archer envisioned a structure built to look as though it had risen from the wall. "Other materials were selected for their colors and textures, timelessness and compatibility with the stone," Archer says.

A stone path leads from the main house to the cottage's front entrance.

Stonework: Ted LeMastra, Allentown, Pennsylvania

(Credit: Archer and Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.)
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